During his earthly ministry and following his resurrection, Jesus Christ chose
Apostles and ordained them to lead his Church and perform ordinances in his
name. This power to act in the name of God is called the priesthood.
The power of the priesthood is again on the Earth. This authority must
be conferred by the laying on of hands by a worthy Latter-day Saint priesthood
holder to another worthy Latter-day Saint male. (Articles of Faith 1:5)
In 1829, Peter, James, and John appeared to Joseph Smith and ordained him
to the Melchizedek Priesthood, thus connecting the priesthood line of authority
in our dispensation back to the Savior himself. Today, The Church of
Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is led by the same authority that existed
in the primitive Church of Christ. Priesthood holders are able to research
and/or find their own line of authority and actually trace that authority back
to the Savior Jesus Christ.
In the April 2005 General Conference, Jeffrey R. Holland stated“…we
in the restored Church of Jesus Christ can trace the priesthood line of authority
exercised by the newest deacon in the ward, the bishop who presides over him,
and the prophet who presides over all of us. That line
goes back in an unbroken chain to angelic ministers who came from the Son of
God Himself, bearing this incomparable gift from heaven.” (Jeffrey R.
Holland, “Our Most Distinguishing Feature,” Ensign, May 2005, 43)
By tracing their priesthood line of authority, men can not only see that their
authority is valid, but can see just how closely, directly, and personally
they are connected to the Savior.